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Update on the Urban Wood Network-IL Chapter

We held our first in-person meeting of the new UWN-IL chapter on March 9 at the showroom of Icon Modern in Chicago. Twenty people attended including 10 via Zoom.

Thank you Rocky Levy, owner of Icon Modern and long-time urban wood advocate, for hosting us.

The meeting featured presentations by three current UWN-IL members on why they joined the chapter including Max Brown, village forester of Glen Ellyn; Rocky Levy of Icon Modern; and Erika Horigan of Horigan Urban Forest Products. We also had great discussions on what is needed next for UWN-IL including connecting with the Illinois DNR, municipal park districts, lumber suppliers and other end users. There was also interest in seeking grant funding for UWN-IL to help propel urban wood into the marketplace and to highlight the benefits of using urban lumber.

Full minutes of the March 9 meeting will be available at our next hybrid chapter meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. May 19.

The in-person meeting will be held at Horigan Urban Forest Products, 2302 Meadow Lane, North Chicago IL 60064. For those unable to attend in-person, the meeting will also be held on Zoom.

As of now, chapter meetings are scheduled to take place on the third Thursday of odd-numbered months.

To get on our mailing list to receive UWN-IL news and event updates, including a Zoom link for the May 19 meeting, email Erika Horigan at

All urban wood stakeholders including tree care specialists, sawyers, woodworkers, architects, municipal managers, urban foresters and others are encouraged to attend our chapter meetings. Membership benefits include branding opportunities, sharing best practices with other members, and participating in educational webinars and workshops.

FYI: The Urban Wood Network will soon launch a revamped website. It will include an area devoted to UWN-IL. Stay tuned.

IL Chapter of Urban Wood Network Officially Launches

It’s official. Urban Wood Network – Illinois Chapter (UWN-IL) has formally been established as has a steering committee to set goals, beginning with recruiting new members.

Erika Horigan, member of UWN-IL, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding completing the application process joining Wisconsin, Michigan and other states that have become state-chartered members of UWN. 

UWN-IL will work with the Urban Wood Network on primary goals, including promoting the social, environmental and economic value of urban wood and to maximize the value of trees removed due to pests, disease or other circumstances

Members of the UWN-IL steering committee include:

  • Max Brown, Village Forester of Glen Ellyn;
  • Rich Christianson, Editor & Publisher, Urban Wood Update;
  • Cherie Fisher, Social Scientist, USDA Forest Service;
  • Erika Horigan, co-owner of Horigan Urban Forest Products, chairperson;
  • Rocky Levy, co-owner Icon Modern;
  • Jeff Perkis, Project Architect at Dewberry;
  • Jeff Prokash, Instructor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and
  • Steve Skorup, Owner, SAWINC.

Plans are in the works for a new membership information meeting to be held March 9 at Icon Modern’s facility in Chicago and via Zoom. Further details, including registration, will be announced soon.

All urban wood stakeholders are welcome to join UWN-IL including tree care specialists, sawyers, woodworkers, architects, municipal managers, urban foresters and more. Membership benefits include branding opportunities, sharing best practices with other members, and participating in educational webinars and workshops.

Learn more about the benefits of joining the Urban Wood Network and sign up to become a member at

For additional information about becoming a member of UWN-IL, contact Erika Horigan.

Don Peterson, Founding Executive Director of Urban Wood Network, Passes Away

Donald “Buck” Peterson, a career forester, consultant and urban wood advocate, died of natural causes while working at his Crystal Falls, MI, office on Jan. 3. He was 65.

Peterson was instrumental in establishing the Urban Wood Network in 2017 and served as its executive director until late 2021.

Peterson graduated from Michigan Technological University in 1979 with a degree in Forest Management. He worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for 12 years serving various roles including forest ranger and forest products marketing specialist. In 1997, he moved to the private sector and became executive director of the Forest Industry Safety and Training Alliance.

In 2001, Peterson founded Renewable Resource Solutions based in Crystal Falls, MI. RSS provided consulting services to help clients achieve their natural resource goals spanning a diverse range of topics including biomass projects, feasibility studies, urban logging projects, and timber sales. 

Read Peterson’s obituary.

Invitation to Take Part in Urban Wood Network-IL’s Dec. 2 Next Steps Zoom Meeting

Dear Illinois Urban Wood Stakeholders,
We held an exploratory meeting of for the Urban Wood Network (UWN) Illinois Chapter on September 20.  Sixteen people, including arborists, sawyers, municipal managers and woodworkers, were in attendance. We were also joined by Kari Devine of the Urban Wood Network. She provided information about UWN membership benefits including branding, marketing, and educational resources.
We got some great feedback from the Zoom meeting and an enthusiastic response to move forward. For those who attended, you’ll be receiving a follow up e-mail with a recap of that meeting. 
We’ll be holding our next UWN meeting to further explore the needs of the Illinois Chapter and establish a steering committee at 10 a.m. December 2.
I sincerely hope you will join us. Please sign up in advance.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Erika Horigan
Horigan Urban Forest Products, Inc.
Horigan Tree Care, LLC



Invitation to Learn About the New Illinois Chapter of Urban Wood Network

I invite you to attend this meeting to join the discussion of what comes next for Illinois and urban wood. I will share why Illinois became a Chapter of UWN. In addition, I will be joined by Kari Devine of the Urban Wood Network. She will provide information about UWN membership benefits including branding, marketing, and educational resources.

The meeting will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday, September 20.

Please register in advance to attend.

Hello Illinois Urban Wood supporters:

Please join us in an upcoming Zoom meeting to learn about the new Illinois Chapter of the Urban Wood Network (UWN).

Illinois has a long history of utilizing the resource of urban wood and we recently became a member of this larger UWN national movement.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Best regards,

Erika Horigan
Horigan Urban Forest Products, Inc.
Urban Wood Network, Illinois

Urban Wood Network Announces First State Chapters

Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin are the first three states to establish state chapters with the Urban Wood Network through the UWN’s Driving Urban Wood Utilization from Coast to Coast Cost Share program.

The UWN is also in the process of building chapters and local urban wood programs in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina and Oregon. Further expansion of chapters and individual memberships is also in the works.​

Since its inception, the UWN has connected members with potential partners, customers and experts to help them grow their urban wood businesses. UWN has also educated and informed thousands of urban wood enthusiasts through its webinars featuring urban wood experts from across the country.

Through its latest initiatives, UWN plans to continue collecting and sharing best practices from throughout the urban wood supply chain to help businesses, municipalities, advocates, government agencies and other stakeholders build their local urban wood industries.

Click here to learn more about becoming a UWN member.

Contact Kari Devine of the UWN about how to start or get involved with a UWN chapter.

Urban Wood Network Secures Forest Service Grant

The Urban Wood Network (UWN) was awarded a grant from the USDA Forest Service to further its mission to advance the urban wood movement throughout the United States.

UWN’s proposal, The Urban Wood Network – Driving Urban Wood Utilization from Coast to Coast, was one of six to be awarded from a pool of $900,000 in the 2020 Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program. These funds will be matched with an additional $995,144 based on the individual grant recipient’s proposals bringing total funding to nearly $1.9 million. 

According to UWN, “The three-year project will expand the U.S. urban forest economy by bringing industry stakeholders together to inform, collaborate, and connect to build community, business and consumer confidence in the urban wood industry, which will provide revenues and cost-savings to municipal urban forestry programs.”

The UWN’s membership includes sawyers, woodworkers, municipalities, arborists and other stakeholders stretching from coast to coast and in Canada. UWN said its members “are committed to the ideals that urban trees benefit their communities most when they are growing strong and that when they are removed due to death, disease, pests, or circumstance, their wood should be utilized to its highest use to maximize economic, environment and societal benefits.”

As a national trade organization, UWN works with its members and partners to:

  • Develop and improve markets for urban wood;
  • Assist in reducing cost burdens for municipalities;
  • Increase opportunities for wood recycling;
  • Help develop programs that will stimulate economies, create jobs, and educate on sustainability and carbon sequestration.

The Forest Service’s community forestry grants support the health and vitality of urban forests. Well managed forests are better prepared to withstand the threats of invasive pests, and protect lives, infrastructure, homes, habitats, water quality, economies, and social health and well-being.

In addition to UWN, other grant winners include:

  • Wildlife Habitat Council — Crossing the Fence-Line: Connecting Corporate America to America’s Communities through Public-private Forestry Programs;
  • University of Maryland — Translating Urban and Community Forestry Human Health Evidence to Integrated Urban Planning and Policy;
  • North Carolina State University — Engaging Diverse Communities in Urban Greening Efforts: Lessons Learned and Pathways to Success;
  •  University of Tennessee — Extending the Reach of Rapid Diagnostics with Detection Tools for Oak Wilt and Laurel Wilt Diseases in Urban Forests; and
  • The Giving Grove Inc. — Little Orchards, Big Impact: Growing a Collaborative National Urban Orchard Network to Improve Environmental Resiliency, Build Capacity and Increase Food, Security in High Potential Communities.

Learn more about the USDA’s 2020 Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program.

For more information about the  Urban Wood Network, visit


Urban Wood Network’s Future Visioning Webinars Available on Demand

All five parts of the Urban Wood Network’s (UWN) 2020 “Future Visioning” webinar series presented to date are available for on-demand viewing.

The webinars were held on a monthly basis from March through July, 2020. They include an overview of the UWN’s most recent accomplishments and plans, as well as a discussion of urban wood lumber standards, business strategies and more.

Each of the webinars is geared toward supporting the needs of the entire urban wood chain including municipal managers, arborists, sawyers, woodworkers and advocates.

Webinar #1: The Urban Wood Network: Future Visioning
The Urban Wood Network presents its vision to bring together urban wood industry members to inform, collaborate and connect to build community, business, and consumer confidence in the industry. 

Webinar #2: Urban Lumber Standards
Learn about new North American standards and chain-of-custody certification of urban wood and how they will build confidence in architects and designers to spec locally grown urban wood products.  

Webinar #3: Urban Lumber Business
Discussion of how to start or grow a successful urban lumber business including marketing strategies and utilization of the new industry standard and chain of custody certification.

Webinar #4: What to Do with the Rest of the Tree(s)
This webinar gives a broad spectrum of examples of products that have been produced from “non-log” trees and portions of trees throughout the country.  

Webinar #5: Forming a State Organization: Nebraska Urban Wood
Learn how urban wood stakeholders in Nebraska have come together to create Nebraska Urban Wood. Included is an overview of Nebraska’s existing urban wood using industry, municipalities and tree service involvement, potential funding sources, organizational structures, and recent organizational efforts.

Learn more about the Urban Wood Network, other archived webinars and the benefits of becoming a member.


Like Urban Wood Network on Facebook

The Urban Wood Network is now on Facebook. Become a fan and keep up to date with the latest developments of the urban wood movement, informative webinars and other news.

Like Urban Wood Network.

Urban Wood Network Dues a Bargain

The thermometer on the back of my garage is hovering around -20F. But things are heating up for the Urban Wood Network.

Entering its second year of existence, the UWN looks to take the next step in its move to consolidate an organization of businesses, government entities and individuals who have a stake in advancing the urban wood movement. The cost of membership is a modest $50 a year. That’s a small price to pay to get in on the ground floor of helping shape UWN’s future programs and initiatives.

A great example of UWN’s programs is the “How-to Do Urban Wood” webinar series that explored developing urban wood partnerships from various vantage points. All of these webinars are archived on

Learn more about the UWN, it’s benefits and how to join in this edition of the Illinois Urban Wood Update.

Also, in this issue:
  • The Top 10 Urban Wood Posts of 2018
  • Dead Ash Trees Come to Life in Chainsaw Sculptures
  • Emerald Ash Borer Threatens 50,000 Trees in Lincoln, NE
Warmer days are just around the corner.

Come join the movement!
Rich Christianson
Communications Director
Illinois Wood Utilization Team